Is the BBC Perpetuating the Microsoft Monopoly?
The BBC Trust recently released its Public Value Test for "public consultation" with respect to its proposed on-demand services. The BBC Trust is proposing a "7-day catch-up" service to allow people to view shows for up to 30 days. Not only are the DRM provisions laughable, the questionaire implies that the service is essentially Windows-only. The irony is that Microsoft is being forced by the EU courts to comply with anti-monopoly remedies.
First, the major media providers have been learning the hard way that DRM is not working as they had hoped. People will always crack DRM controls. Companies have spent untold sums trying to prevent people from sharing content or using it in ways they did not intend, with questionable success. The publicly-funded BBC will likely face the same challenges.
Even more important, the BBC Trust's questionaire asks the question, "How important is it that the proposed seven-day catch-up service over the internet is available to consumers who are not using Microsoft software?" This is akin to asking whether one should be able to watch a program based on whether they own a Sony or Hitachi television. The other way to ask the question is, "how important are a few million people?"
With growing numbers of people migrating away from the Windows platform, and the EU courts hammering Microsoft about its monopolistic practices, it The question posed by the BBC Trust seems more rhetorical than an effort to understand the marketplace. Why would the BBC propose a plan to support the Microsoft platform in light of all the commotion?
According to Alan Cox, a well-known Linux kernel hacker, "Such a proposal IMHO completely violates the expectations that the BBC does not use public funds to distort markets, and there is no sign that the BBC trust who should be overseeing this have done the relevant market distortion analysis."
LXer has requested information from the BBC Trust with respect to its intentions. Members of the public can respond to the questions on the BBC Trust site. Just click the "Questions" tab and use the boxes to answer the questions. Other questions cover how long people should be allowed to view content after it has been stored and whether the BBC should be making such a service a priority.
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|BBC And Microsoft||zenarcher||9||1,250||Feb 11, 2007 5:37 AM|
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